Label: Wandering / Format: CD

Berlin’s Sven Weisemann has never made a secret of his love of classical music and his desire to soundtrack films, so it’s of little surprise that Xine, the young house producer’s first album to date, is a full on modern classical affair, with Weisemann adding strings, cello, piano and effects to non-intrusive programmed backing. He plays every instrument himself.

Weisemann has spoke of Waltz With Bashir soundtracker Max Richter’s influence on his work on various occasions, but he needn’t bother: obvious comparisons with Richter’s albums can be drawn throughout Xine. Not only does the album’s piano-led, greyscale melancholy echo the sound Richter has made his own, but like Richter, rain is used frequently as an aural and visual (see: Xine’s cover) tool. The icing on the cake? Xine‘s special edition comes packaged with its very own Blue Notebook.

But Xine‘s derivative nature shouldn’t work against it: it’s clear this is a very personal project for Weisemann, as both a tribute to his late grandparents and, one suspects, one of his favourite composers. He adds something new to the modern classical fold: Xine is a classical record, but on its first track, Sven indulges his dub-techno side as much as his ambient one, with a sighing depth that few can match. Likewise on ‘Swan of Desire’, he backs his piano with colossal hits of distant bass.

Weisemann’s natural ear for a melody is at times superlative: ‘Tearily’ tugs the heartstrings with the sort of subtlety that’s sometimes missing from Richter’s work, the Scotsman often preferring to tear at his listener with strings from all angles, while the fog-dulled glisten of ‘Harbor Lights’ is like a maritime take on Burial’s own ‘Distant Lights’. A welcome tribute album that should only increase Weisemann’s stock, and only add to this young producer’s sense of intrigue.

Tam Gunn



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